You?re a small business, and you?re looking to grow. It can be tough to offer more to your customers — and build your base of loyal clients — without dramatically increasing your overhead, though. Often, a customer will ask you to add what to them seems like an obvious and simple service — but for you it would require the additional expense of a new employee, and it?s tough to judge whether a single convenience is worth adding, say, $20,000 to your annual budget.
Luckily, there are a few ways you can beef up your offerings without significantly beefing up your costs. Here are a few ideas you can keep in mind.
1. Online Ordering
People often want to support small businesses — it just becomes difficult when they aren?t a click away, the way Amazon and other websites are. You can work with this, though. Although having payment options on your website can get expensive, there are a lot of ways around this for businesses experimenting with how popular such a service might be. For a store specializing in local handmade ware, for example, why not have an Etsy account and have the link on your website? This way you can also have access to a national market, and not just local.
2. Business Telephone Answering Service
Business hours are often something like 9-6. This makes sense considering that you want to have a life and go home to your family. However, your customers often have the same schedule and may not be able to call you during the day — or, they may not have a problem until it?s 11pm at night and waiting until 9am to speak to you can be frustrating. Instead of paying for someone to answer your phone call in your office around the clock, you can instead invest in virtual receptionist services.
These business telephone answering services can handle your calls for you and speak knowledgeably to your consumers. Because they usually work for several companies at once, you also typically only need to pay for the after hours answering they actually do — rather than for eight solid hours. You’d be surprised at how many companies use a small business telephone answering service.
3. Small Perks
You?d be surprised by how much people enjoy small perks that you offer them. It won?t make sense for every business, but sometimes something as simple as offering a free small cup of coffee can make someone?s day! And it might only cost you $10 a week to offer it.
Would a 24 hour answering service, coffee, or online storefront work for you? Let us know if you have any better ideas.